Tom Olin and ADA Bus Fight Sheltered Workshops.

Photo by Tom Olin

Photo by Tom Olin

Photo by Tom Olin

Photo by Tom Olin

Road to Freedom ADA Bus parked in New Mexico. Tom Olin, Janine Bertram, and Dave Fulton are standing near the driver's window

Road to Freedom ADA Bus parked in New Mexico. Tom Olin, Janine Bertram, and Dave Fulton are standing near the driver’s window

The Road to Freedom ADA Bus Tour with Tom Olin is boycotting the September 17 scheduled stop in Lansing, Michigan for the 25th ADA celebration hosted by Disability Network Michigan. Two days ago we learned Peckham Industries was a primary funder of the Lansing ADA celebration so we hit the brakes and pulled a U-turn. Peckham is a key Source America contactor who makes billions off of employing people with intellectual disabilities and paying less than minimum wage. (Their “employees” could be placed in competitive employment and paid at least minimum wage). The federal Department of the Treasury is investigating them for fraud.

The Road to Freedom Bus Tour needs funding to get to Lansing for the demonstration against Peckham and Source America.

A key objective of the Road to Freedom Bus Tour is to support local disability rights groups speaking for consumer choice and work that strengthens the disability movement.

We need $1500 to bring the ADA Bus to Lansing on September 17, 2015 for the counter demonstration.

Tom Olin is on his third tour of the United States (2007, 2014/2015, and 2015/2016) On all three tours, we have found that the Road to Freedom bus is a media magnet, especially when preceded by inclusion in a press release. (Tom has been documenting the disability movement since 1985.)

Please help us raise the $1500 for travel to and from Lansing (includes RV park, fuel, oil, and small repairs fee.)

Donations can be made to the following 501 (C) (3) fiscal agent for the Road to Freedom Bus Tour. 100% of donations go to keeping the ADA bus on the road.

Disability Rights Center
PO Box 313
Rhododendron, OR 97049
DRC Tax ID 52-1069959

More information:The Road to Freedom Tour

CNN Article on Source America Fraud

Daily Beast Says Source America like Mafia

Link to donation page:

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Deeper Levels of Stigma

This post speaks well to a dangerous attitude that the disability rights movement has been fighting for decades: better dead than disabled. Not Dead Yet has taken the lead but many of us have worked to change public attitudes. Still, the stigma persists. So this is well worth the read.

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Your Support Bringing ADA Bus and Tom Olin to Houston

Thanks to all who donated to the Disability Rights Center (DRC) for the ADA Bus. Your support means the ADA Bus will get to Houston because DRC could complete the repairs and secure travel costs for the first leg of the tour. Tom Olin and Dave Fulton, CFO, will drive the bus from Sacramento, where there will be a bus-christening event, to Houston for the ADA 25 Legacy Tour kickoff July 25-27, 2014. The ADA Bus is the former Road to Freedom bus that Tom Olin drove to 48 states in 2007. Watch this blog for tour updates and visit The ADA Legacy Project site:

You can still help the ADA Bus and Tom Olin continue the Legacy Tour beyond Houston by donating to DRC. All donations are being used to support the ADA 25 Legacy Bus Tour unless donors specify otherwise. You can donate at

A shout out to these generous supporters of ADA 25 and disability rights:

Michael Bailey

Marsha Katz

Susan Mazrui

Janine Bertram

Virginia Knowlton

Susan Henderson

Marjorie Rifkin

Carol Tyson

Beto Barrera

Yoshiko Dart

Corbett Jean O’Toole

Jeanne Argoff

Suzanne Levine

Allegra Stout

Patricia Carver

Bob Kafka

The ADA Legacy Project (TALP)

Morton Gernsbacher


All rights reserved. Photo by Tom Olin 

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Help Tom Olin with the ADA 25 Tour

 Imagephoto by Tom Olin

Help Tom Olin get The 2008 “Road to Freedom Bus” back on the road (see photo below).The bus, a 35’ foot RV, is slated to join The ADA Legacy Project’s (TALP) national Legacy Tour to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (July 26, 2015). The tour begins in Houston in July of 2014.

What’s does this mean for us, the disability community? The bus is a central connection point on the Legacy tour, carrying the history of the ADA and other disability rights and justice issues. It will serve also as a backdrop at stops and events. The bus will be a platform for young emerging leaders communicating with older leaders, for allies and artists, organizations, legislators. governors.  Through touring the nation, we will gather a more comprehensive list of the young outspoken leaders who will be leading the disability nation over the next quarter century. In short, The Road to Freedom bus makes for a richer ADA 25 Legacy tour.

We can’t do it without you. The bus needs you to get and keep it on the road. Repairs to the bus and the exhibits are needed. This includes buying new tires, resealing the roof, engine repairs, fixing the accessible lift, insurance and new registration and licensing as well as other repairs that come from age.

The Disability Rights Center, Janine Bertram Kemp, and Dave Fulton floated a loan to acquire the bus and start on repairs. An additional $3000 is needed ASAP because legally the bus cannot be driven without new tires. Please give generously to get Tom Olin and the Road to Freedom bus rolling. You can donate to overall costs or choose what you want to purchase. $3000 buys all the tires, $1500 buys 3 tires, $175 buys a tank of fuel, $360 for exhibit repair, etc. All donations are tax deductible.

Donate here now

Read more about The ADA Legacy Project and ADA 25


Tom Olin is the premier social documentarian of the disability rights movement. He has recorded the movement through photographs for nearly 30 years. His photos have exhibited at the Smithsonian and appeared in the Washington Post and numerous other publications and books.





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Yoo Hoo! LBJ Presidential Library…Disability Rights ARE Civil Rights

Once in awhile something wonderful makes me fall in love with the disability movement all over again. I am now heart expanded and all a flutter mushily loving our people, our leaders, our head over heels commitment to full societal inclusion… take out all the stops! Last week Texas ADAPT issued a statement saying that the LBJ Presidential Library was hosting a summit about the 1964 civil rights act. Topics being covered included not just the classes addressed by the 1964 legislation but nearly everything tangentially related except the kitchen sink and..people with disabilities.  But what made me fall in love with us all over again was the way our community came together in the days following the call from Texas ADAPT. The National Council on Disability (NCD) whipped out a statement calling on the LBJers to include disability and then the National Disability Leadership Alliance (NDLA) flew forth with one too.  The ADA Legacy Project is putting out a release. And these statements are blanketing social media and disability nation. Below you will find the ADAPT media advisory for the April 7 press conference in Austin (and check out the list of LBJers included topics) and links to statements from NCD and NDLA.

Oh Doctor, we are fabulous. My-oh-my-blueberry pie we are a mighty bunch. Ya gotta love being us.  

We Shall Overcome We Shall Overcome
Civil Rights Celebration of 50th Anniversary

Attention Disability Rights Advocates
What: Press Conference
When: April 8, 2014
Time: 10:30am
Where: Red River and Dean Keeton (formally 26th Street)

Come and celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the enactment of the Civil Rights Act and the Civil Rights Summit being held at the LBJ Presidential Library. The Civil Rights Summit will be championed by Presidents Jimmy Carter, William “Bill” Clinton, George W. Bush and Barak Obama.

Since the signing of the landmark legislation in 1964 to prohibit discrimination based on race, many other classes of groups have been and will be recognized at this summit including:
• Gay Marriage
• Immigration Policy
• Music and Social Consciousness
• LBJ and MLK, Fulfilling A Promise, Realizing a Dream
• Sports, Leveling the Playing Field
• Heroes of the Civil Rights Movement
• Social Justice in the 21st Century
• Women: How High is the Glass Ceiling?
• Education: The ultimate Civil Right

What’s missing?
People with Disabilities & the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Perhaps the greatest liberation legislation for 52 million Americans in this Nation, the ADA will recognize its 25th Anniversary next year. Come celebrate inclusion in the American arena by and for persons with disabilities.
Nothing About Us Without Us!
ADAPT of Texas, 1640 East 2nd Street
Bob Kafka 512-431-4085

NDLA,                            Image

Note: Photo by Tom Olin

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R U Ready??? Emergency Preparedness in Disability World


Portlight Strategies is a wonderful organization that serves people with disabilities and their families when disaster strikes.  Paul Timmons started the program after hurricane Katrina. He was disgusted that some groups were trying to raise beaucoup bucks to set up an 800 number for post disaster calls while Paul and his wife Kelly were on the scene delivering wheelchairs and other supplies. Portlight has responded to disaster in concrete ways on the scene when and where disaster strikes. Support Portlight and make your own disaster plan.

 My consciousness was raised by Katrina as well. A dear friend repeatedly tried to secure transit for a person with quadriplegia in New Orleans.  That person had called ahead but no one came. My friend stayed on the phone with her as the waters rose and she drowned. This tragic death could have so easily been averted. That woman’s story is etched in my heart.My friend went on to head up accessible emergency preparedness for the federal government. There is a challenge which she will be working at for some time.

 Visit for more information.

 Disabled World posted a great blog which we are reprinting below. #RUReady? 

Disaster and Emergency Planning for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities
People need to plan for emergency evacuation in anticipated and unanticipated situations including chemical, biological, radiological, explosion, transportation accidents, fire, floods, earthquakes, mud slides, hurricanes, tornadoes, snow storms power outages, etc.

For the millions of people with disabilities around the world, surviving a disaster can be just the beginning of a greater struggle.

For people with disabilities, barrier free, as well as, barrier-ridden environments become a great deal more hostile and difficult to deal with during and after an emergency. For example, people with physical disabilities may have reduced ability to get to accessible exits, as well as reduced access to their personal items and emergency supplies. People with vision and hearing loss and people with speech related disabilities often encounter many more communication barriers, especially when regular communication channels are down or overloaded. These barriers appear at a time when rapid communication may be crucial to survival and safety.

Emergency, or disaster, planning includes preparing organizations and staff to deal with natural and manmade disasters; to support people with disabilities in preparing for a disaster; and to provide education and information to ensure local and statewide emergency officials are fully prepared to address the needs of people with disabilities in the event of an emergency. Often the needs of people with disabilities in emergency preparedness are unaddressed or plans are not well coordinated, leaving individuals with disabilities unnecessarily vulnerable in the event of an emergency.

The critical needs of individuals with disabilities during an emergency include the evacuation of transit systems, getting to safe shelter in the event of a natural disaster, and full access to transportation systems when there is a need to evacuate a particular location.

If you or someone close to you has a disability or a special need, you may have to take additional steps to protect yourself and your family in an emergency.


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Ageism In Disability Rights and Justice?

Photo by Tom Olin

Photo by Tom Olin

Over the past months I have heard strange and ageist references from folks whose work I respect. Examples? There are many and I suppose I should offer one or two. Recently I was interviewing a middle aged organizer for an article about an issue on which there seemed to be controversy and two clear sides. The organizer came down firmly on one and noted that “the only ones who were against that position were older.” Was that true? And if so, what did that mean? Ought I discount a position because young people did not hold it? Perhaps the advocate meant the reverse..that I should discount the side held by younger leaders because they had less wisdom and experience.

Another example came from a DC supervisor in the disability world. When discussing hiring for one of the primo disability good government jobs, he noted that he wasn’t going to hire someone “looking for a position to retire into.” This was voiced in a public social setting. That made me think that it must be a generally accepted attitude. Yoo hoo, there is a law against that…the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).

Most of the ageing folks in the movement (let me disclose that I am one of ‘em: a proud crone still fighting for full societal inclusion) are open to and encouraging of younger leaders. There must be some who fear our jobs or roles being usurped by younger activists or who don’t want to entertain fresh ideas but I’m glad they are not rocking’ or rollin’ in my world. But what is it with these calcified, ageist views held by some of our younger leaders?

Truly we don’t have that much time to debate the topic. Police are regularly beating up and murdering people with disabilities. Our people still rot away in institutions because of a huge lack of affordable, accessible, integrated housing. Many of us toil away in sheltered workshops for way less than minimum wage. The list of life threatening, spirit breaking injustices is long.

Every activist and advocate is needed in our serious and ongoing struggle. This is not a game we are playing. Everyone interested and willing to work is needed: all disabilities, ages, races and gender identities. We need to be as inclusive and non discriminatory of each other as we expect society to be of us.

Age discrimination? Really folks? Get over it now. Our people are dying.

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